There are twice as many male doctors as female doctors in the United States, according to some estimates. When Suzanne Koven, a longtime physician and now writer in residence at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, was coming up as a young doctor some 30 years ago, the gap was even bigger. Today, “women make up half or even more than half of the entering classes of many U.S. medical schools,” she says of the progress. But “we still have a long way to go.”Koven recently helped a group of medical interns write a letter to their future selves. She took the chance to write a letter of her own, giving advice to her younger self.In it, she warned a wide-eyed intern version of herself of the challenges ahead and gave the advice she wishes she’d had back then.”When I started my internship 30 years ago, I wasn’t invited to share my hopes and anxieties in a letter — or anywhere else, for that matter,” she wrote in the letter, published in the New England Journal of Medicine.Better late than never. Photo via iStock/illustration by Upworthy. Recalling the early days of her own medical career, Koven described plenty of casual and maddening sexism:”On your urology rotation in medical school, you were informed that your presence was pointless since ‘no self-respecting man would go to a lady urologist.’There will be more sexism, some infuriating, some merely annoying. As a pregnant resident, I inquired about my hospital’s maternity-leave policy for house officers and was told that it was a great idea and I should draft one. Decades into practice, when I call in a prescription, some pharmacists still ask for the name of the doctor I’m calling for.”She also noted that hospitals are full of crude “bro humor” that can alienate women.She went on to cite perhaps the most depressing statistic of all: Female physicians earn, on average, about $20,000 less than their male counterparts.”But there’s also a more insidious obstacle that you’ll have to contend with — one that resides in yo
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